Indian Democracy

GS 2 – POLITY :Indian Constitution- Features

Introduction

      Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislation.

      The two types of democracy are direct and representative. 

  • Direct democracy, the people directly deliberate and decide on legislation. 
  • Representative democracy, the people elect representatives to deliberate and decide on legislation. (parliamentary or presidential democracy)

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The United Nations has declared September 15 as ‘International Day of Democracy’.

  • It has a provision which says that it reviews the state of democracy in the world. 
  • This calls for an opportunity to review the state of democracy in India.

Indian democracy:

There are two ways in which the state of democracy in a country can to be assessed. They are:

  • Procedural state.
  • The state of outcome because of democracy.

Procedural State

  • There are multiparty elections with universal suffrage subjected only to age restriction.
  • There is smooth changeover in government after elections.
  • There is an existence of an independent press and judiciary
  • The guarantee of civil liberties justiciable in courts of law.

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Outcome

  • Responsiveness of the government to the needs of people.
    • UN’s World Happiness Report for 2020(By United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network)
      • US on top 20
      • India-144 (among 153)
  • indicates that the governments have not been capable enough to satisfy the wishes of people living under it.
  • According to Amartya Sen
    • capabilities are the endowments that allow individuals to 
      • undertake the functionings
      • do the things that they value.
  • Human Development Index 2019(By United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    • Measures-
      • long and healthy life
      • being knowledgeable
      • having a decent standard of living
      • life expectancy at birth
      • the education
      • gross national income per capita.
    • India-129(among 189)
      • Indian democracy is severely challenged.
  • Though democracy may be a form of government but surely the people have come to adopt this particular form of government with a goal in mind-a fulfilling life.
  • Authoritarianism is not compatible with such a life, only democracy, which at least in principle grants individuals a voice in governance.
  • People adopt democracy so that they can participate in their own governance.
  • Liberty and capability are conjoined as the ultimate aspiration in a democracy.
  • Nehru’s speech on August 15, 1947stated that “the goal of independence was to create institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.”
    • He had not promised that the government would create these institutions.
    • He was far too aware that democracy is not synonymous with statism; it is about the people.

In the current times of COVID-19

  • Severe underfunding in a public health system over the years has left the country severely unprepared for the emergency.
  • Reports of bodies lying in the wards and shortages of basic oxygen which is absolutely necessary for COVID-19 treatment.
  • The state neglected its responsibility has resorted to repression when its inaction is questioned.
    • Recently, an agency reported-a representative of the Andhra Pradesh threatened to arrest a government doctor who had dared to mention at a review meeting that there were not enough beds in the primary health centre that he was responsible for.

Conclusion

        This calls us to question whether we are far from dystopia meaning a place where the people experience great suffering as they fend for themselves under the watchful eyes of an authoritarian state.

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